con·​no·​ta·​tion | \ˌkä-nə-ˈtā-shən \

Definition of connotation 

1a : something suggested by a word or thing : implication the connotations of comfort that surrounded that old chair

b : the suggesting of a meaning by a word apart from the thing it explicitly names or describes

2 : the signification of something … that abuse of logic which consists in moving counters about as if they were known entities with a fixed connotation.— William Ralph Inge

3 : an essential property or group of properties of a thing named by a term in logic — compare denotation

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Other Words from connotation

connotational \ˌkä-​nə-​ˈtā-​shnəl, -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

What’s the difference between connotation and denotation ?

Connotation and denotation are easily confused, and the fact that neither word is particularly common in everyday use makes it difficult for many people to get a firm grip on the difference between them. While each of these two words has several possible meanings, they are notably distinct from each other in all senses. Denotation is concerned with explicit meaning, and connotation tends to be concerned with implicit meaning. The word home, for instance, has a denotation of “the place (such as a house or apartment) where a person lives,” but it may additionally have many connotations (such as “warmth,” “security,” or “childhood”) for some people.

Examples of connotation in a Sentence

Miuccia Prada, a connoisseur of vintage jewelry, has a collection of tiaras and subverts their formal connotations by wearing them for the day. — Hamish Bowles, Vogue, March 1997 Suddenly, Hsun-ching brightened. "So this is propaganda?" Alison did not know that, in Chinese, the word for propaganda literally means to spread information, and does not carry any negative connotations. — Mark Salzman, The Laughing Sutra, 1991 The word "evolution," with its connotation of unrolling, of progressive development, was not favored by Darwin; he preferred the bleak phrase "descent with modification" for his theory. — John Updike, New Yorker, 30 Dec. 1985 a word with negative connotations For many people, the word “fat” has negative connotations. The word “childlike” has connotations of innocence.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Maybe then, the solution is to redefine the connotations of contouring. Sandra Song, Teen Vogue, "How I Stopped Believing the Contouring Myths That Are Constantly Directed at Asian Women," 30 Nov. 2018 The emphasis on celebrating each child (and creature)'s uniqueness may offer a welcome alternative to people who dislike the connotations of Elf of the Shelf. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "This New "Reindeer in Here" Toy Is the More Positive Version of Your Christmas Elf," 23 Oct. 2018 Amid the connotations of dirt and impurity surrounding women’s natural cycles, Feingold wanted to show the reverse. Christina Cacouris, Marie Claire, "This Artist Uses Gold and Glitter to Destigmatize Period Blood," 11 Sep. 2018 In Eastern Europe, Solstice celebrations often fall on Ivan Kupala day, which has romantic connotations. Caroline Simon, USA TODAY, "The Summer Solstice isn't just about weather - it's also about romance," 21 June 2018 Cinco de Mayo is a day of celebration in the United States but in Houston, the date has bittersweet connotations. Houston Chronicle, "A Saturday walk will commemorate a historic case of police brutality," 4 May 2018 The court will determine whether the statements are reasonably susceptible of a defamatory connotation. NBC News, "High hurdles for Stormy Daniels' defamation suit against Trump," 1 May 2018 But LaCroix could stand out because its drinks have a healthy connotation that fits nicely with swimwear. USA TODAY, "If you crave LaCroix sparkling water, maybe you'll like the swimsuit," 16 May 2018 Voodoo has negative connotations in Western culture — but was primarily used for healing, good luck, and love as described throughout the tiny voodoo museum where these trinkets were sold. Scott Heller, New York Times, "Sightseeing for History (With a Few Selfies Along the Way)," 6 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'connotation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of connotation

1532, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for connotation

see connote

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Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for connotation

The first known use of connotation was in 1532

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More Definitions for connotation



English Language Learners Definition of connotation

: an idea or quality that a word makes you think about in addition to its meaning

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More from Merriam-Webster on connotation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with connotation

Spanish Central: Translation of connotation

Nglish: Translation of connotation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of connotation for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about connotation

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